A rural festival celebrated in Punjab on
13th April, Baisakhi signifies the beginning of a New Year for the Punjabi
community. It was on this day in 1699 that the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru
Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa Panth (the Sikh brotherhood) and gave
the “5 Ks” (emblems of purity and courage) to his followers:
kesh (unshorn hair), kangha (wooden comb), karra , (iron / steel bangle),
kirpan (sword) and kachha (underwear). more...
This festival, held in January, in Bikaner , Rajasthan,
is dedicated to the ship of the desert - the camel. The festival starts
with a magnificent procession of beautifully decorated camels. There's
plenty of Rajasthani culture on show too, to enchant those present:
music, dance and competitions. more...
|Buddha Purnima, which falls on
the full moon night in the month of Vaisakha (either in April or May),
commemorates the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, founder of Buddhism,
one of the oldest religions in the world. Notwithstanding the summer
heat (temperatures routinely touch 45 degrees C), pilgrims come from
all over the world to Bodh Gaya, the place where the Buddha attained
Christmas, the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ,
is celebrated by Indian Christians on December 25th, in much the same
way as it is celebrated by Christians worldwide. more...
This three-day extravaganza of colour, music
and festivity is held on the stretches of sand around the desert citadel
of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, in February each year. The fun and frolic
includes fire dancers swaying to traditional tunes, a turban-tying competition
and a Mr. Desert contest. more...
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, perhaps the
best-known Hindu festival, marks the end of the festival season that
opens with Ganesh Chaturthi. Diwali is celebrated throughout India ,
as well as in the Indian Diaspora worldwide. more...
Dussehra, or Vijay Dashmi, is celebrated in September
/ October, to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama, virtuous Prince
of Ayodhya, over ten-headed Ravana, the evil king of Sri Lanka who abducted
Rama's wife, Sita, and was subsequently vanquished in battle. Dussehra
thus celebrates the victory of Good over Evil. more...
This 10-day long festival, honours Lord Ganesh
(son of Lord Shiva), the elephant-headed god of auspiciousness who is
worshipped as the remover of obstacles and the harbinger of successful
new beginnings. It is celebrated all over India in the month of August
or September. more...
February heralds the carnival at Goa. For three
days and nights, the legendary king Momo takes over the state and the
streets come alive with colour. The Carnival is a truly Goan celebration.
India pays homage to all teachers ( gurus )
on the full moon ( purnima ) day of the month of Ashadh (July) . Students
visit their elders, teachers and guides, and show their appreciation
and respect with gifts of coconuts, clothes and sweets. more...
The courtyard of Hemis Gompa (monastery), the
biggest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, in the state of Jammu & Kashmir,
is the stage for this festival, which celebrates the birth anniversary
of Guru Padmasambhava, revered as a reincarnation of Buddha. The colourful
two-day pageant falls on the 10th day (Tse-Chu) of the Tibetan lunar
The most lively of all Hindu festivals is observed
on the day after full moon in the month of Phagun (sometime in March)
according to the Hindu Lunar calendar. It heralds the end of the winter
and the beginning of the spring. North India, in particular, goes wild,
goes wild, with people smearing brightly hued powders on each other
and squirting each other with coloured water from pichkaris. more...
India 's battle for freedom from British Rule
was long and arduous, and every year the country celebrates Independence
Day (15th August) with an outpouring of patriotism. more...
Jagannath is another name for Lord Krishna,
and the Jagannath Rath Yatra observed in the month of Ashadha (June-July)
celebrates Krishna's annual visit from Gokul, to his birthplace, Mathura.
Janma means 'birth' and ashtami means 'eighth
day'. Janamashtami, celebrated in August / September, commemorates the
birth of Lord Krishna, believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu
(preserver in the Hindu pantheon), born to annihilate Kansa, the evil
king of Mathura. more...
This takes place in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on
Makara Sankranti (14th January), the day when t he Sun enters the Makar
Rashi (the zodiac sign of Capricorn, the goat), starting its northward
The Indian subcontinent hosts more religious festivals
than anywhere else in the world, but the Kumbh Mela is the biggest and
most mind-boggling of them all. It is, in fact, the largest single gathering
of humanity on the planet. more...
A colourful kaleidoscope of cultures - Central Asian,
Tibetan, and North Indian - come alive in this festival held in September
in Ladakh, nestled in the Western Himalayas. On display are traditional
sports (polo and archery), folk dances and songs, age-old social and
cultural ceremonies, art and handicrafts. more...
Celebrated in Punjab on 13th January, Lohri
celebrates the successful harvest of the Rabi crops - an extremely important
event in a predominantly agricultural community. It is a community festival,
and celebrated as one. Children go from door to door to collect funds
for community bonfires that are lit up in the evening. more...
The birth anniversary of Shiva, the Lord of
Destruction in the Hindu pantheon, is celebrated in March. Shiva devotees
fast through the day and stay awake through the night, praying. more...
Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Lord
Mahavira (the founder of Jainism) is observed on the first day of the
month of Bhadrapad in April. It is the main festival of the Jain community,
and Jain temples dedicated to Lord Mahavira are decorated with flags
for the occasion. more...
This is celebrated in the month of Magh , on
14th January, when the sun enters Makar Rashi ( the zodiac sign of Capricorn,
the goat ), starting its northward journey. Makar Sankranti is the day
of the equinox, when day and night are equally long. Hindus believe
that those who die on this day attain moksha , escaping from the cycle
of birth and re-birth. more...
The city of lakes, Udaipur , in Rajasthan, is the
venue for this festival, celebrated in April during the Gangaur Festival.
An exhilarating welcome to spring, it is an audio-visual feast with
Rajasthani songs, dances, processions, devotional music and firework
Shias Muslims observe Moharram to commemorate the
s hahadat (martyrdom) of Iman Hussein (Prophet Mohammed's grandson),
who died at Karbala , while fighting for the cause of Islam. more...
Nagaur Fair is one of the largest cattle fair
in the country, held annually between late January and early February.
Situated half way between Bikaner and Jodhpur , Nagaur awakens with
the thronging of cattle, horses and camels accompanied by their colorfully
turbaned owners. There are about 25,000 camels on display as well as
a large number of horses and cattle. more...
Navaratri” means 9 nights, and Navaratri,
celebrated in the month of Ashwin (September / October), is the longest
Hindu festival. Different regions have different themes for celebrating
Navaratri, but the underlying commonality is the victory of good over
Onam, Kerala's most important festival, heralds
the harvest season. It is celebrated in the month of September and brings
ten days of prayers, feasting, and song and dance to the state. One
the second day of the festival, every home is decorated and brightly
lit. Friends exchange greetings and present each other with lengths
of auspicious saffron cloth. more...
This 3–day festival, celebrated from
January 13 to 16 (as the dates are calculated by the solar calendar,
they never change), originally marked the harvest festivities of the
farming community, to give thanks for bounteous crops. more...
This fair is held at Pushkar town, 11 km from Ajmer
in Rajasthan for twelve days annually during October- November. This
cultural and trade cum religious fair is an attractive and lively spectacle
with Rajasthani men and women in their colourful traditional attire,
saffron-robed and ash smeared Sadhus (holy men) and thousands of bulls,
cows, sheep, goats, horses and camels in richly decorated saddles. more...
Veterans of Indian classical music and folk dance
hold audiences enthralled at this festival held in Nov / Dec each year,
in Delhi , against the historic ruins of the Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World
Heritage site. Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri, Ghazals, Qawalis, Sarangi,
"Rakhi", as it is popularly called,
is celebrated in the month of Shravan (August) on the day of the full
moon. Literally meaning "ties of protection", it commemorates
the bond between brothers and sisters. more...
Also known as Id-ul-Fitr, this is celebrated by Muslims
immediately after the holy month of Ramadan, in October-November. Some
Muslims believe that the day marks the revelation of the Quran, their
holy book. more...
All of India celebrates 26th of January, the day the
constitution of India came into force. The evening before, the President
addresses the nation. Medals are conferred to recognise feats of exceptional
bravery, on the part of members of the armed forces in the field, as
well as civilians, in everyday life. more...
Is a harvest festival when Laxmi, the Goddess of
prosperity, visits all homes to bring fortune and good luck to all.
Kojagiri, the special night, is celebrated with ice-cold, saffron-flavored
sweet milk, shared in the cool moonlight. The newly harvested rice is
offered to the gods and lamps are lit before the full moon. November
This ten day event, held at Agra , Uttar Pradesh,
the city of the Taj, in February, is a celebration of the arts, crafts,
culture and traditions of Uttar Pradesh. Folk music, shayari (poetry),
classical dance performances, elephant and camel rides, games and a
food festival are the highlights of the festivities. more...
Teej celebrates the onset of the monsoon. Held
every year during the Hindu month of Shravan (August), it is popular
among women in North India, especially Rajasthan. Swings are hung from
trees and decorated with flowers. more...
The ceremonial welcome of spring, this festival
is celebrated in North India and West Bengal (especially in the University
town of Shanti Niketan ), in the month of Magh (February). The mustard
flowers are in bloom, and people dress in yellows, sing, dance, make
merry and worship Saraswati, the Goddess of learning. more...